Court dismisses EFCC’s application to re-assign Shekarau, others’ suit
Justice Lewis Allaguo of Federal High Court, Kano, has denied application filed by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking re-assignment or transfer of alleged N950 million money laundering charges slammed against former Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wakil and Mansur Ahmed.
Counsel to the EFCC, J.A. Ojogbane, had informed the presiding judge of the prosecution’s application forwarded to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, with subsequent reply to the presiding judge for necessary action.
Ojogbane said basis for the exigency was as a result of the ugly experience during the last hearing where hoodlums bombarded the court premises to attack EFCC operatives, a development, he lamented, led to security men firing teargas on lawyers, judge and other attendants.
He said motion for the transfer of the case also hinged on security consideration of witnesses whose lives and that of their families are under threat if the case continues in Kano.
But counsel to first defendant (Shekarau), Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), who rejected the EFCC’s argument, said the application was an attempt to elongate the lifespan of the originating notice.
He said the defence was prepared to open trial on the case.
The defence counsel, who posited that the EFCC’s application was not grantable, said: “In a criminal case, it is not right, fair and proper for the prosecution to dictate, choose a venue for judge presiding over a case.”
The presiding judge thereafter adjourned the case till December 3 and 4, 2018 for opening of the trial.
In another development, the judge has granted bail to Kano State governorship candidate of Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Abdulkareem Abdulsalam and one Ebere Uchechukwu in the sum of N100 million each and a surety based within the court’s jurisdiction.
The two accused persons were being charged on a nine-count charge on alleged money laundering running into $1.1 million.
The case has been adjourned till January 29 and 30, 2019 for hearing.